Friday, July 20, 2018

Tissue engineering at UC San Diego: a summer to remember

This summer, there is a group of about 20 high school students who are immersed in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine at UC San Diego. The students are part of the state-wide COSMOS program, which is a four-week, sleep-in-the-dorms, engineering-science-and-technology camp for high school students.

COSMOS stands for California State Summer School in Mathematics and Science, and at UC San Diego, COSMOS is run by the Jacobs School of Engineering. COSMOS students attend clusters – like tissue engineering and regenerative medicine – that are designed to introduce students to STEM subjects not traditionally offered in high school.

UC San Diego COSMOS Cluster 8 on a field trip to Advanced BioMatrix in July 2018.

In addition to getting a crash course on the foundations of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, this lucky group is also learning to use some of the latest tools and techniques of the trade.

As a part of their learning, the students got to spend a day at Advanced BioMatrix, which is a San Diego company that is working and developing new products in this area. The students got to see first-hand cutting edge 3D bioprinting (for printing living tissues and potentially organs), 3D cell culture, and tissue engineering. This is the third year COSMOS students have taken a field trip to Advanced BioMatrix.

In the second half of their COSMOS month, the students will get to work on teams in a real research project. They’ll get to experience what it’s like to brainstorm about research questions, approaches and hypotheses. They’ll then design and conduct experiments, analyze results, and create and deliver presentations in paper, oral, and poster forms.

Advanced BioMatrix donated collagen products that the students use in their own 3D cell culture projects as part of the COSMOS program.

“We are extremely impressed by the caliber of students in the COSMOS program. They ask high level questions, far above their grade. You can see that they truly want to learn,” said David Bagley, President, Advanced BioMatrix.

Advanced MioMatrix posted this photo in this post on their own LinkedIn feed.

Cluster 8 which is Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. It’s co-taught by Roberto Gaetani and Robert Sah. Robert Gaetani is a Research Scientist, Department of Bioengineering at UC San Diego and the  Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine; and Robert Sah is a professor of bioengineering and orthopedic surgery at UC San Diego. The bioengineering department at the Jacobs School of Engineering is consistently ranked among the top 2 or 3 in the nation, according to the US News rankings of bioengineering graduate programs.

Last summer, Cluster 8 was featured in a story in the San Diego Union Tribune: "High school students explore tissue engineering at UCSD."

Learn more about the COSMOS UC San Diego program here. Each year, COSMOS applications are accepted during the month of January for the upcoming summer.

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